DISCLAIMER: This is an original fiction story so all of the characters and happenings come directly from my twisted imagination.
FEEDBACK: Comments can be sent to mailto:email@example.com Copyright 2003 © by nyrdgyrl
"Do you think I'll fit?"
My hugely pregnant sister, Tamara, glanced at the doggie door, then eyed my hips, uncertainty etched on her brow. "Dunno Jesse, but we can't stay out here all day, my back is killing me." Tamara grimaced then kneaded her lower back muscles. It didn't help that J. Edgar, Keisha's stupid German Shepherd cavorted around us, positively gleeful that we'd come out to play.
Everyday around this time Tamara's unborn swimmer got restless and played kick ball with her internal organs. Today the kid was concentrating on her kidneys. Tamara complained that he was trying to boot his way out. Thinking she needed a break before this baby was born, I'd invited her along on my annual vacation. I'm an assistant D.A. in Little Rock, so I understand stress and how important it is to relieve it.
This year I'd decided to go to the lake. In my opinion, no woman deserved to be pregnant in the middle of August, especially when the pregnancy was a result of a broken condom. If men could get pregnant, birth control would be a national priority. Tamara's husband, Tim, was away on maneuvers with his Guard troop, so we left their twins Michael and Raphael with our mom, then took off for two weeks of relaxation. Those three year old heathens had worn poor Tamara to a frazzle. By the time we got back, Mom would need a vacation too. At work I'm the consummate professional; coiffed hair, manicured nails, tailored clothes. You know the type. Check out any issue of "Black Enterprise" and you'll see the image I'm trying to portray. When I'm on vacation though, it's nothing fancy. Just shorts, sandals, and t-shirts. A girl has to let her hair down sometimes. Until today, our vacation had been stress free and uneventful. Sun, sand, and surf, well, not really surf, but you know what I mean. At least there was water that Tamara could float in and take some of the pressure off of her back.
Anyway, all had gone well until this afternoon when we'd managed to lock the keys to the cabin inside. Keisha, a psycho friend of mine, had loaned me her cabin with two conditions. First, I had to promise to give her my first born if I damaged anything. She's a good friend, but a little twisted. For some reason she believes that homeless people are really disguised aliens from Alpha Centuri who are plotting to take over the United States. Her cabin is fortified against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so I knew she was serious. Bringing J. Edgar, Keisha's stupid German Shepherd along, was the second condition and the cause of my dilemma.
What? Sorry, where was I? Right, got it. Sooo, I left the cabin thinking Tamara had the keys and of course, she thought I had them. Either way, we found ourselves outside, with the door locked, and no keys in sight.
"I think I can do it." As I was soon to discover, my body image veered sharply from reality. There shouldn't be any reason in the world that I'd be unable to fit through a large doggie door. After all, J. Edgar, fit through with no problem. If that fat chow hound, ah hem, I mean if that pooch could get through, there's no way I'd have any problem. I polished my glasses on my t-shirt while I waited for Tamara to come up with a valid objection.
Tamara wasn't convinced. "Why don't we just break something? There's no way that Keisha'd ever know."
I snorted. "That woman knows everything. I wouldn't be surprised if she had video cameras mounted out on the perimeter to record the coming invasion." Tamara rolled her eyes. She'd teased me more times than I can count about my crazy friends. It wasn't my fault that I was the human equivalent of locoweed. I said, "You have no faith." Using my hands in lieu of a yardstick, I sized up the dog door, then transferred the measurement to my hips. Even to my hyperopic eyes, it looked like I would fit through with room to spare. "See," I said. "No problem."
Tamara still looked doubtful. In retrospect though, it was probably the baby. "You could walk to town for help."
"In these clothes? Are you stupid?" There was no way I was going to leave my pregnant sister alone for the time it took me to find help. Mom would tan my hide black and blue. I could hear her now. Jesse Michaels! I raised you to have more sense than to leave your baby sister alone in the woods when she's with child. What were you thinking? Most people think Jesse is short for Jessica but it's not. Mom's a rabid Baptist so we all have biblical names. Tim and Tamara made her very happy when they named their sons after the archangels. Looking back, Lucifer and Beelzebub would have been more appropriate, but they looked so angelic when they were infants that we just didn't know. Tamara's nattering wretched me from my daydream and I snapped to only to be confronted my sister at her most irate.
"Girlfriend-" Tamara's turkey neck imitation made it clear that she had been speaking for awhile and knew I hadn't been paying attention. I'd never been able to master that particular move and was always amazed how smooth she made it look. All that time she spent watching BET when we were kids obviously paid off.
"Sorry." I cut her tirade off with a mumbled apology then ducked my head trying to look contrite. She could be a bear when she got angry. Just ask Tim and the boys.
Tamara grunted to acknowledge my apology then waddled over to the nearest window. Anticipating her suggestion I said, "Won't work, those windows are made of Lexan.² You know how paranoid Keisha is." "Lexan²? What's that?" Tamara groaned when another cramp squeezed her lower back. The kid was very active this afternoon. Her doctor had warned that he might come early due to his size, but we were hoping for at least another week before she went into labor.
Mom always preached that a picture's worth a thousand words so I bounced a rock off the window to illustrate my point. "It's an unbreakable plastic used to make windows. Sara, my fire department buddy told me about." Of course I'd rather have discussed other things with her but sometimes a girl has to take what she can get. I turned from the window in time to see Tamara pale and clench her teeth together. She didn't look comfortable. "Come on T, it's the doggie door or nothing. We can't stand out here forever."
Tamara's mouth opened, probably to tell me I'd lost my mind, but another pain clamped her jaws shut. Somewhat reluctantly, she nodded okay, and I bent to my task. If I'd been thinking clearly, I'm sure that I'd at least have stripped down to my undies, less bulk, you know. But I was so distracted by her pain etched face that I dove right in. Looking back, it was the one good decision I made all afternoon.
I'd just stuck my head through the door, after having pushed J. Edgar back and away. That stupid dog thought I was trying to play and kept poking me with his snout. I'm unbelievable ticklish so his attentions were very unwelcome. He was giving me more attention than my last three girlfriends combined.
I was right in the middle of easing my torso through the opening when two things happened simultaneously: Tamara gurgled, and J. Edgar shoved his snout into my crotch. Their combined stimulus launched me forward, popping both tits and the upper part of my chest through the hole and plugging it like grease stops a drain. I was sure going to be sore once I got out of this dog door.
Tamara moaned, "Oh God, Oh God, Oh God! I can't believe this shit."
"What? What's going on out there?" It would have been smarter to withdrawal before I was fully committed, but adrenaline surged through my veins and I pushed forward. I wiggled further into the hole, frantically trying to force myself in and through. Good intentions aside, all I managed to do was wedge my ribcage into the opening so that my chest wall couldn't expand enough to allow me to breathe comfortably. Outside, Tamara moaned piteously and J. Edgar warbled in counterpoint. Nothing was going as I planned. On the verge of panic, I deliberately slowed my breathing, drawing slow, shallow breaths, intent on sounding calmer than I felt. I called out, "T, come on now. Tell me what's happening."
Tamara swallowed her sobs, audibly trying to contain herself. "I'm...my... it's..."
"Will you just spit it out and finish your sentence?" Between being lodged in the dog door and listening to Tamara stutter, my patience was shot. "Just take a deep breath and tell me what's going on." I heard Tamara moving around and breathing in that funny rhythm pregnant women are supposed to use. After a few moments she said, "My water just broke and this stupid dog is lapping it up."
"WHAT?" Using my hands, I pushed against the doorframe gaining another inch in my quest for entry. "Did you just say your water broke?"
"Ye — Yeah." Tamara's voice hitched as she added, "And the dog is lapping it up." J. Edgar was definitely enjoying something because he was making that peculiar snuffle dogs produce when they're ecstatic. Tamara took a few minutes to gather her composure then asked, "Aren't you going to open the door? We really need to get going."
To lie or not to lie, that is the question. Visions of Tamara squatting outside of the door with the baby's head dangling between her parted legs filled my mind's eye. She was going to KILL me. Resigned to my fate, I said, "Um, I can't."
Panting softly, Tamara moaned when a pain rippled across her abdomen, then sighed when it eased. Her words were clipped when she spoke again. "Can't? Why not?"
"Stuck!" she shrieked. "What do you mean stuck? You can't be stuck. I'm having a baby here. You can't be stuck."
Tamara cursed and sputtered until the next pain silenced her complaints. Once she wound down, I said, "Look, I'm stuck and yelling at me isn't going to help any." Tamara said, "You're right. You're right. But we've got to do something." For a few moments the only sound I heard was J. Edgar's soft panting and Tamara's sandals scuffing against the pavement outside the door. The calm was shattered when she attacked the locked door with a fury that dissipated as quickly as it erupted. A pathetic groan slid from her throat and she slumped to the ground beside my legs.
Tamara's assault scrambled my guts and filled my mouth with saliva. Trying to settle my stomach, I hauled in air as deeply as my pinched ribs would allow. If I'd been anyplace else, I would have quite happily puked my guts up, but being trapped in an undersized door was not conducive to vomiting. If my ribs weren't injured already, they'd surely be after I puked. "T," I gasped, "You need to calm down. Getting upset isn't good for the baby."
"The baby! What about me?" Tamara thumped her elbow against the door, and then groaned when another pain wracked her body. "Do something, Jesse. This stinks." Her voice hitched again, "I — I don't want to have my baby outside by myself."
My heart clenched when Tamara's tears morphed into sobs. The ever helpful J. Edgar squeezed in between us and leaned his bulk against my sister. While she snuffled quietly, I strained against the opening until I'd broken out in a full body sweat. It didn't help that my hips were being pressed forward by Keisha's fat dog, but that was just a minor inconvenience. My body was well and truly stuck. Time for plan B.
"Um, T. How much time do we have?" I wracked my brain trying to come up with an alternative plan. I'm usually pretty clever, the law requires a nimble mind, but I couldn't think clearly with the door squeezing the breath out of me. I looked around, trying to find anything that might be useful. My eyes lit on the doorknob and an idea trickled into my brain. Maybe, just maybe if I could reach the doorknob, I'd be able to unlock the door and Tamara could come in and call for help. I craned my neck to get a better look at the knob. "Time," she asked. How would I know how much time we have?" "Okay, maybe I asked the wrong question. How far apart are your contractions?" Not that it meant anything to me, but I needed to keep her occupied while I stretched towards the lock. By the way my back and shoulder felt, I knew that my chiropractor was going to have a field day with me once I got out of here.
Tamara sniffled, and then moaned when another contraction squeezed her abdomen. She panted, "What difference - does it make? You're - stuck in that door, and - I'm going to - to have my baby out here - at your feet. Literally." She placed her hand on my left calf, and then gripped it firmly enough to leave a bruise. Once the contraction eased, Tamara let out a long sigh. "Jesse," she said, "do you think that one day we'll find this funny?"
I snorted, thinking it's funny now, but having enough sense not to say that out loud. "I'm sure we will T, just as sure as I am that this will all work out." I stretched and rotated my left arm upwards until my fingers brushed the bottom of the knob. "Just another — half inch. Almost...almost...got it!" After I sprung the lock, I shook my arm trying to work the feeling back into it.
Finally tuning in to the noises I was making, Tamara asked, "Jesse, what are you doing in there?"
By the time I got enough wind back to answer, Tamara was in the grip of another contraction. They seemed to be coming closer and closer so I knew our time was getting very short. Once she relaxed back against my legs I announced, "I unlocked the door."
Moving faster than I thought possible for a woman in labor, Tamara scrambled to her feet then slammed the door open driving the back of my head into the closet doorjamb. Stars twinkled before my eyes before my vision tunneled then dimmed before winking out completely. Bit, by bit, I became aware of my surroundings. My shins throbbed keeping time with my heartbeat which was keeping time with the pain in my head. No that's not right.... A warm, wet...tongue swept across my lips. "Sara?" Someone moaned in front of me and the tongue turned into a soft, furry tail that slapped my forehead with the regularity of a metronome. The moaning continued, but now I was unsure of where it came from. First the tongue, then the tail trailed across my face. Tongue. Tail. Tongue. Tail. Tongue? Tail? What was going on here? The moaning increased in volume, followed quickly by panting that turned into a guttural groan. What was going on here? Suddenly, the day's events crystallized in my mind and I realized the moaner must be Tamara. That meant that the tongue/tail combination was that stupid dog. J. Edgar stuck his tongue in my mouth again and my stomach lurched, hurling the meager contents of my stomach onto the kitchen floor. I choked and gagged until I was dizzy and once again barely aware of my surroundings.
Things got fuzzy for awhile after that. I heard Tamara moaning, then vehicle doors slamming, then booted feet against the walkway. A hand grabbed J. Edgar's collar and dragged him outside while someone with long, square tipped fingers scrubbed the vomit from my face and chin. Those same hands slid an oxygen mask onto my face then supported my head which eased my breathing considerably. When my head stopped spinning, I saw Tamara on the floor, bracketed by uniformed people. If I squinted just so, I could make out a brownish, red bulge between her splayed legs. Keisha was right, there were aliens on earth and one was emerging from Tamara right now. From the noises she was making, it wasn't a comfortable arrival either.
As I lay there with the cool oxygen clearing my head, I realized that Tamara was having her baby right in front of me. The head and one shoulder were already out and with a final mighty heave Tamara squirted the rest of her infant's body out and into the waiting hands of the paramedic crouched between her legs. I'd never seen anything like it. The paramedic bundled the baby in a huge white cloth then stuck some sort of blue bulb in its mouth and nose. After a few quick squeezes, the baby whimpered then wailed its displeasure at being out in the world.
Wrung out, her perm flattened by sweat, Tamara slumped against the cabinets, looking like she'd like nothing better than to lie down and sleep for a month. After a moment, she roused herself and reached out for her baby. "What is it," she asked. "Boy or girl?"
Acting like he'd done the hard work himself, the paramedic puffed out his chest then pronounced, "It's a beautiful baby girl." He knelt then placed the infant into Tamara's outstretched arms.
Smiling beatifically, Tamara chucked the baby under her chubby chin then turned her in my direction. "Hey, Jesse. Say hello to your niece, Gabriella. Gabriella, meet Jesse." Tamara's eyes teared as she cuddled her child for a few minutes. Then she placed a hand low on her abdomen and said, "I think it's time for the afterbirth."
The paramedics sprung into action whisking the baby out of view and getting Tamara situated for the next push. After more grunting and groaning, a bloody mass of tissue eased out from between Tamara's legs and the paramedic illuminated it with his penlight. After running his hands over the mass he said, "It's all here, let's pack this up and get to the clinic."
Earlier I'd thought that Tamara was giving birth to an alien. Once I saw the afterbirth, I was sure of it. That was absolutely the most disgusting thing I'd ever seen in my life. And the way that medic poked around in it like he was trying to forecast the future from whatever he saw there.... Brrr. To this day it makes me shudder when I think about it.
Before long, Tamara and Gabby - I know her name's Gabriella but it takes too long to say that; besides, she's turned out to be a very talkative child - were trundled off by the paramedics leaving me still wedged in the dog door.
As they moved towards the front door I called out, "Hey, wait. What about me?" My voice was muffled by the oxygen mask, but I know that they heard me. The trailing medic yelled over his shoulder, "Don't worry, you're in good hands." He was through the living room and out of sight before I could ask what he'd meant. I couldn't believe that they'd left me there.
I squirmed, trying to extricate myself from my prison, but subsided immediately when my entire body protested. My head was killing me. Tears trickled from my eyes and tracked along the edges of the oxygen mask until a woman's hand reached out and gently wiped them away. I'd seen that hand before: recently.
"Hold still. You're gonna hurt yourself. I've got someone coming who's gonna to get you outta there." The voice that belonged to the hand was low-pitched and raspy, a smoker's voice, but comforting nonetheless. She eased something soft underneath my head then moved around so that I could see her. At first she was a blur, a little too close for me to see clearly until she set my glasses on my face after saying, "These, I think, are yours."
I gingerly reached up to adjust my glasses, afraid that any sudden motion would set my head spinning again. After I got them settled, I got my first glimpse of my savior. She radiated confidence. From what I could see it was completely justified. Crouching there, in my vomit, muscles outlined by her uniform, she was the best looking woman I'd had in my personal space in a very long time. I was smitten. When her face eased into a lopsided gap toothed grin, I was lost. Her hazel eyes were awash with compassion and I flushed, embarrassed to be caught in such an awkward position by such an attractive woman. Just my luck. Once again my eyes filled with tears. "Are you in pain? Does something hurt?" She produced a red bandana and wiped my tears away.
I shook my head, and then checked my motion when it made me nauseous. "I'm stuck."
She petted my head, automatically avoiding the tender spots on my skull and said, "I know Jesse. Just hold on and we'll get you outta there. Won't be long now."
Weeping like a baby, I grabbed her hand and begged, "Don't leave me here, please don't leave me."
"I won't. I won't leave you. Don't worry, help's on the way." She soothed my fears and settled me down to wait for the promised rescue. Soon more doors slammed outside and my vision filled with big black rubber boots and a bunch of oversized tools.
The firefighters stood around for quite some time debating about the best way to extricate me from my doggie door prison. I'm sure they would have still been there arguing, you know how men are with their tools, if my comforter hadn't put a stop to the conversation with a few sharp words. They hopped to after she raised her voice.
She patiently explained what was going to happen while she outfitted me for my rescue. Goggles, earmuffs and a blanket served to protect me from the fire department's efforts. She refused everything, behaving as if she believed she was impervious to harm. Her smile was my lifeline until the noise and vibration drove me down and into my self to find refuge from the pain in unconsciousness.
The next time I opened my eyes, I was in an unfamiliar room filled with antiques, flowers, and soft snoring. Snoring? I pushed myself up on the pillows then swiveled my head around searching for whoever was making the noise. It was my rescuer. Her booted feet were propped on the end of my bed and the rest of her long body was sprawled on an antique wooden chair. Early morning sunlight streamed across the room and illuminated the lightly freckled brown skin on her face. It looked so smooth that my fingers twitched with the desire to caress it. I must have made some small noise because she started awake then offered me a slow but dazzling smile.
Voice roughened by sleep she said, "Hey, Jesse. How're you feeling this morning? Better I hope."
I conducted a quick mental inventory of my body trying to figure out exactly what hurt. Head: throbbing. Ribs: throbbing. Everything else: throbbing. Overall my body was killing me, but my pride forced me to lie. "Um, I'm fine thanks but can you tell me where I am and how I got here?"
"Well," she drawled as she set her feet on the floor, "This is my guest bedroom. As to how you got here, mostly you walked but the last little bit I carried you. Don't you remember?" She must have been very strong because I'm not a lightweight by any stretch of the imagination. My problem with the dog door illustrated that quite clearly.
I couldn't believe that this stranger brought me to her home. That didn't happen to people in my experience, vast as it was. "Okay," I said. "I mostly walked, and you carried me some, but why here? Why your home?"
She studied my face carefully before she answered. "I couldn't resist."
"I never could resist a feisty woman."
My face flooded with heat as I squeaked, "What?"
She quirked an eyebrow then enunciated carefully. "I couldn't leave you. I promised you I wouldn't and I didn't. I always keep my word." She searched my face, looking for some way to convey her
meaning. "When I saw you in that door I was hooked. Then last night at the clinic you were...you were..." Frustrated by her inability to say what she meant, she slapped her thighs then said, "I don't have words for what you were, but I knew that I wanted it. I wanted you in my house, in my life. Even if it was for just one night."
I stared at her openmouthed, stunned by her vehemence until she said, "You wanted to come with me too. Don't you remember?"
I wagged my head slowly from side to side. "Sorry, I don't." I was silent for a moment, searching my memory for yesterday's events and coming up with disjointed fragments. "I remember the dog door, and the baby.... The baby! How is she, how is Tamara?" I swung my legs over the side of the bed intending to go to my sister wherever she was but a wave of dizziness tumbled me back onto the bed.
"Whoa there. Careful. I don't want you to hurt yourself." She lifted my feet from the floor and settled me back under the covers. "Tamara is fine and so is Gabriella. They spent the night at the clinic." Her eyes twinkled and she shook her head. "You, my dear, refused. In fact you threatened to punch Doc Garrett out if she didn't cut you loose. I almost had to hold you back."
"Yep. Don't you remember?" This time when she asked the question she seemed to be a little bit more concerned.
I squeezed my eyes shut, determined to remember something from last night. Scenes from the hospital flickered behind my closed eyelids and I groaned when I remembered my altercation with the doctor. Trying to justify myself I mumbled, "I hate hospitals."
She smiled and the tip of her tongue appeared between her teeth. "Starting to come back to you?"
Too embarrassed to make eye contact, I watched my fingers pluck the covers. "Bits and pieces, but I don't remember your name or what's wrong with me. Sorry."
"I was wondering when we'd get around to that." She hitched a thumb at her chest then said, "My name's Cady. Cady Logan. I'm the sheriff here."
Cady's face clouded over and she asked, "Don't you remember anything?
Maybe I oughtta take you back to the hospital."
"No. No. I'm alright. Are we still at the lake?"
"Kind of." The crease between her eyes disappeared and she leaned a hip against the bed. "We're in Greenwood. That's by the lake." "Oh, okay." My eyelids drooped and I struggled against the lassitude that threatened to sweep me under again. I wanted more time with this woman before I fell asleep. "What's wrong with me?"
Cady rubbed my temples which was a sure-fired way to put me out. "Sleep now. I'll tell you everything when you wake up again." "Okay." I fumbled with the blankets until Cady cradled my fingers in the palm of one hand and rubbed her thumb across my knuckles. "Stay with me," I pleaded.
"Sure will. I'll be here when you wake up."
Later when I awakened, she was still there. She told me everything that had happened at the hospital and she told me about my injuries. I guess I got off easy with a mild concussion, a few cracked ribs, and lots and lots of bruises. I was sure that I'd suffered some sort of permanent damage while I was trapped in that door.
Later that afternoon, one of Cady's deputies delivered Tamara and the baby to the front door. He even brought J. Edgar along. Once everyone was settled, we laughed and cried over our ordeal and I was right, it was pretty funny once it was over. Mom drove down with the boys and took Tamara and the baby back home to Little Rock. I was stuck with the dog. I still had a few vacation days left so I opted to stay at the lake. Cady reminded me that the cabin needed a new door, so I ended up staying at her house. That worked out fine. One of her brothers fixed the door, and we had the opportunity to get to know one another better, under less...unusual circumstances. I was crushed when I had to leave her and go back to Little Rock. If we'd had more time, something special might have developed between us.
Weeks later I was at work, mentally kicking myself for not calling Cady. I'd promised her that I would, but soon after I got back I got bogged down with a particularly trying case that consumed almost all of my waking hours. A man had shot and killed his parents, then set fire to their home. When the fire department arrived, he shot and killed a few firefighters and injured a couple more. The whole thing was an incomprehensible mess and I was the lead prosecutor. People are just too strange. My only consolation was that Sara wasn't on the crew that was attacked. Even though she'd left me for another woman, I bore her no ill will. I wanted to put this guy away forever, but his defense attorney was filing for diminished capacity, and it looked like he had a convincing case. The whole thing made me sick. I removed my glasses then cradled my head on my desk, conscious of my ever present headache and trying to protect my still tender ribs. While I rested there I let my mind drift back to my vacation. Except for being stuck in that door, all of my memories were good ones. I had especially fond memories of the tall sheriff with the gap toothed smile. My recollection was so vivid that I heard her footsteps in the hallway outside my office, and smelled the outdoor freshness of her skin. If only my imagination was real.
Stewing in remorse I lay there resting, too tired to get up and go home and much too demoralized to spend another minute on this case. I needed a hug badly and knew who I wanted it from, it was just that she was there and I was here and there were too many miles and too much silence between us to allow what might have been to be. A few tears trickled from my eyes and splashed onto my desk.
"Hey girl, what's wrong? Seems like you're always crying when I find you." My head snapped up tweaking my ribs and making them scream in protest but I barely noticed. The answer to my prayers was leaning against my opened doorway. She held a bouquet of lavender roses in one hand and her hat in the other. Her face stretched in that slow, sexy grin that I'd come to admire as she sauntered across the office to gather me into her arms.
"Cady — what — where...." I sagged in her arms, relieved beyond words to find myself back in the one place I knew I belonged. She held me while I cried and wiped my tears with that same red bandana she'd used when we first met. To my utter delight, I found out later what that bandana meant, but that's a story for another day. In fact, everything that happened afterwards is a story for another day. I never imagined that I'd have to get stuck in a doggie door to meet the woman of my dreams, but that's exactly what happened and I'm awfully glad that it did.
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